Following on from my previous post on Metropolis Shanghai and Chavez Ravine, I thought I'd post a few more recent examples of music about a specific time and place, released or re-released in the last year.
- Mark Fell's Secular Musics Of South Yorkshire: Reproduction
- Acid - Can You Jack? Chicago Acid And Experimental House 1985-95 [Soul Jazz] - "Tells the story of the evolution of house and acid in Chicago and how a number of creative artists from the city developed a sound that came to influence the world." Note also that Soul Jazz have just released New York Noise Vol. 2 - "Delves further into the post-punk/dance world of New York in the 1980s."
- The 50 States project of Sufjan Stevens, and particularly Illinoise. Some interesting thoughts on Stevens and place here: "He creates a sense of place through location-based storytelling"
- Brazilian early-80s post-punk compilation The Sexual Life of The Savages [Soul Jazz]
- Andrey Dergatchev's soundtrack to Andrey Zvyagintsev's film The Return [ECM]. The background states: "As important as the film’s haunting pictures are the carefully edited soundtrack and the music written by Andrey Dergatchev, which seems to evoke an ancient Russia and reminds us, with its Duduk motives and vocals, of Armenian or Georgian folk songs. These are contrasted with the everyday sounds of modern Russia: voices on the radio and on the streets, announcements at the station, wind and torrential rains threatening to swallow up pedestrians, doors slamming, gulls crying, dogs barking… "
- And the beautiful, stately American Primitive Vol. II: Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939), which conjures a reverential sound of the deep south from the ghostly host of the early twentieth century. And of which the Revenant site says this: "Revenants. Phantoms. Biographical ciphers who emerged from their anonymous dark, made 78 rpm recordings, and were promptly swallowed up by darkness again. Yet their recordings have made an indelible place for themselves in our world by dint of their capacity to inspire wonder. At once a collection of secret blueprints for a raw musics revolution and a testament to the enduring power of great art to shock, confound, inspire and sustain."
Incidentally, BLDGBLOG had a recent excellent entry on Stephen Vitellio and Mark Bain - two sound artists working in and around the World Trade Center, before and after. In the (good) comments on that post, I mentioned a related old favourite, which I include here as a bonus even though not from last year - Francisco Lopez's Buildings (New York), which is the sound of, well, buildings in New York.
On related matters, I'm doing a 'remix' of my New Musical Experiences talk in Manchester on Thursday night (18:00, February 2nd 2006), at Manchester Metropolitan University, invited by MIPC. I'm doing essentially the same talk as in Helsinki, but attempting to fold in some issues to do with the relationship between specific music scenes and cities, possibly contrasting some of the potential of forthcoming location-based services with the disappearance of visual and contextual information NME suggests. I wish I had a little more depth to offer, given that they're public sociology seminars as part of a series called 'Local Cultures in Global Space' - perhaps I'll point at wiser things like Anne Galloway's forthcoming talk on spatial annotation and everyday urban life if the theory gets heavy - but I hope people will be able to grasp the ideas in the talk and extend them. It'll be interesting to see how the relationship between cities and music shifts as context itself drifts away from primary music experience. If you're in Manchester, do drop by and say hello.
As we're mentioning MIPC and music, I should also mention their call for papers for a forthcoming international conference they're hosting. Called Manchester: Music and Place, it's happening at Manchester Metropolitan University, 8th-10th June, 2006. The thesis goes like this:
"The connections between musicians and the place in which their work begins has always been stressed – by the musicians themselves, by members of the 'local scene', by city marketers, by cultural historians, by 'local music industry' policy makers, and often by the people who live and play in the city. This conference attempts to explore the connections between music and place from these different perspectives. We want to use Manchester as a thematic case study for these questions, and it will form a constant reference point during the conference. But the conference will not be restricted to Manchester – other examples will be sought as well as more general papers on the relation of music and place."
More details at the MIPC site. (Apparently the call for papers is still open, despite what it says there.)